Quirky characters, W-I-T-T-Y night of theatre

Anyone who has ever witnessed a spelling bee can vouch for the tension that can be cut with a knife in the room, but add an eclectic mix of personalities, and the results are sidesplitting.

Welcome to the Omaha Community Playhouse’s upcoming production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which features an adult cast playing pre-teen characters with very eccentric personalities. While exploring their characters, many cast members have found inspiration from people and past youth experiences to use in their roles.

Meet some of the spellers:

Tim Abou-Nasr (Chip)

Character description: Athletic, sociable and a sore loser. He is a member of the Boy Scouts of America and lately has been going through some strange changes.
Inspiration for role: “I see a lot of my younger self in Chip. I was a boy scout, and I loved spelling bees.”
Tim’s pre-teen connection to Chip: “When I was a kid, I was a multi-talented overachieving model student. But it was just a phase. I grew out of it.”
Spelling bee experience: “I was in the Spelling Bee in third grade and fourth grade. I placed second both times.”

Dan Chevalier (Leaf)

Character description:
Homeschooled, easily amused and severely A.D.D. “With all the new things to experience, his focus tends to wander.”
Inspiration for role: “As a teacher, I'm surrounded with inspiration for the character of Leaf every day. There are a handful of students (who shall remain anonymous) whose quirks and ticks I have borrowed for Leaf.”
Dan’s pre-teen connection to Leaf: “My pre-teen self would always play with my hair when I was concentrating very hard, like doing homework. Sometimes I would end up with a 'hair horn' jutting out of the top of my head after taking an especially difficult test. Leaf, too, tends to play with his hair when he is concentrating hard, not concentrating at all or somewhere in between.”
Spelling bee experience: “No. I was (and still am) a very, very bad speller.”

Jenn Tritz (Olive)

Character description: Only child, a word lover and shy. She lives with her dad while her mom is in an Ashram in India and is “best friends with the dictionary.”
Inspiration for role: “One of my friends, Liz, is who I look to as inspiration for Olive. Her seemingly quiet and shy persona masks an incredibly funny, smart, witty and creative person. She is just so multi-layered, and that is exactly how I see Olive.”
Jenn’s pre-teen connection to Olive: “I was very driven to succeed and participated in various contests. I was always a little shy around people…I also wasn’t a very good dresser, but I didn’t have any pink overalls like Olive. I think Olive is much more mature than I was at her age!”
Spelling bee experience: “I was in a spelling bee in fifth grade. I was one of two spellers from my school that got to go to the district-wide bee!…It was one of the most intimidating experiences from my elementary school days!”

Bailey Carlson (Logainne)

Character description:
Driven, politically aware and strikes a strong presence despite her speech impediment. “The most ambitious 10-year-old you’ll meet.”
Inspiration for role: “I’m watching EVERYONE like a hawk to pick up any nervous ticks or annoying [mannerisms] that I can steal and use for Logainne.”
Bailey’s pre-teen connection to Logainne: “My mom and I were looking through pictures for the program and found that there was a particular pose I would ALWAYS strike in a group photo. I would always do the splits and throw up the peace sign…[Logainne] loves to throw the politician “thumbs up” whenever she can.
Spelling bee experience: “It was third grade, when I had my lovely boy hair cut. I think I made it four words in. But as far as the word [I misspelled], I can’t remember. There was an S and a T in there somewhere…The rest is a crap shoot, which was probably how I spelled it.”

Don’t miss The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in the Howard Drew Theatre, Feb. 18-March 27, Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $40 for adults and $24 for students. For groups of 15 or more, adult tickets are $29 and student tickets are $18. To purchase tickets or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, visit the Box Office or click here.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee contains adult content and is not intended for children.

Story by Maria Becvar


Omgrrrl said...

So far one of the BEST show blogs. Keep up the good work! I can't wait to "meet" the rest of the characters!

(PS I hear the cast of "Awesome 80's Prom" was going to have a blog. But the internet hadn't been invented yet.)

Omaha Community Playhouse said...

Glad you enjoyed it! Our new marketing intern Maria interviewed the cast and did a great job!